New Scientist: A survey finds that refugees fleeing Tibet have higher levels of depression and anxiety than Tibetans born and raised in relatively stable exile communities in India and Nepal. But even Tibetans born in exile have questionnaire scores that classify them as “depressed”. “The results highlight the cost of the ongoing human-rights crisis within Tibet in human emotional suffering,” says lead researcher Charles Raison, from the Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia. Read more here.
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Does buddhism decrease incidence and prevalence of depression compared to the numbers exhibited by western christian countries?
I’m not aware of any statistics on this matter. I’d guess there isn’t much benefit simply from being a Buddhist. Our beliefs and identifications can certainly affect us, but it’s actual practice that affects the mind more profoundly. In investigating this you’d also have to correct for such things as poverty, political oppression (think Burma or Tibet), etc, which would make such a study rather difficult to do, I’d imagine.